[Exene Says] This Is the Attitude of the Future Generation? We're Fucked

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Exene Cervenka
[Editor's Note: Exene Cervenka is a writer, visual artist and punk rock pioneer. The OC transplant is the lead singer for X, the Knitters and Original Sinners. Her column, Exene Says..., is her space to basically just write what's on her mind, everything from crazy life stories to political theories and observations about what's going on in this fucked up world of ours. To contact her, send all messages to askexene@ocweekly.com.]

Hello, young people of the USA! Let's have a little talk. Historically, and perhaps genetically, youth is a time of independence, experimentation, idealism, questioning and hedonism. It's clear you all have the hedonism part down. Good job.

A long time ago, I was actually 18! I've also been 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 . . . you get the picture. So I know exactly what it's like to be young. You, on the other hand, have zero understanding of what it's like to be 50, 51, 52, 57 . . .

Doesn't mean I'm smarter, better educated, more ambitious. What it does mean is I have more experience than you. I have seen more, been tricked more, played the game longer, seen the patterns. That's why, when I go outside, I can tell a chem trail from a cloud.

So here's some wisdom for the girls: Don't wear shoes you can't run in! I know you gotta show off your legs and make them appear as long as possible. Gotta catch that guy who will buy you another pair of $500 designer shoes, those spiky, platform, strappy things--you know, hooker shoes. Which is so appropriate because you are one. Sex = guy buys shoes. Anything-he-wants sex = matching purse!

But be warned: When shit hits the fan (looting, raping, pillaging, plundering), and we become a police state, you'll be a herd of gazelles, and you will get pounced on like easy prey. The guys will be stealing shoes--you know, expensive Nikes and Addidases--and they'll be able to run faster than your pretty, tan, young legs.

But don't worry, the Department of Homeland Security and martial law will keep you safe, right? Or things will just continue to unravel.

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Exene, hello. 

First and foremost, thank you for bringing X into the world. 

Secondly, it must feel kind of helpless having the fate of the world as you know it placed in the hands of today's youth. I can kind of understand some of the anxiety you may feel. 

As a 22 yr old woman, although I am a little triggered by what you said about my generation, I think what offended me more is your comment to advise women to wear tennis shoes so they can protect themselves from (male) aggressors. Maybe instead of advising women to be prepared to run and protect themselves from "looting, rapeing, pillaging" etc, WE SHOULD BE TELLING MEN NOT TO RAPE! You comment seems to reflect notions that perpetuate rape culture and victim blaming. Even though your article is supposed to be satirical, it feels really disempowering and shameful.

Hopefully this will illuminate potential blind spots for you so that maybe you can encourage young women to feel empowered to improve their situation instead of having to rely on men for material goods ("designer shoes") and their physical safety. 

Be the change you wish to see in the world- Gandhi



@Anonymous12345Ya, because all us men want to do is rape people... So sick of people generalizing to the point of hyperbole. How many men rape? No idea but I'm sure its a tiny fraction of 1% and those are mentally sick people. If someone told me to remember not to rape any women it would be the absolute worst insult I can imagine. I would rather be the next Hitler than rape someone but you make it sound like all men want is to rape. Shame on you...


Over 50 years old and you still haven't figured out that insulting people is an ineffective way to influence their thinking? Remarkable. 

Between that and the equating of designer shoes with prostitution, this article was a real treat. It also brings to mind a little nugget I've picked up in my (admittedly brief) travels: age in many cases confers not wisdom but a reinforcement of one's prejudices. Most people--as you've so aptly demonstrated--are just not that smart. Thank you for the reminder. 

As for this generation, I think it'll be okay. We have, to be sure, had a rough go of working harder than you did for less than you received (in terms of wages, healthcare coverage, benefits, and job security), but I think in the long run the experience of cleaning up your entitled cohort's financial catastrophe will make us stronger. We'll remember it while we're legalizing gay marriage and treating our fellow men with more fundamental humanity than the Me Generation ever managed. But don't despair; you lot gave the world hair metal, which was...well, something, I suppose. As you said, you're on your way out. Probably for the best. 


Just one comment? How appropriate. :] Most of the people reading this page are probably those same people that are being pointed out here in this article, so they're mad.

Yeah, the youth are indeed the future and without any sort of sense of rebellion or counter-culture they will just conform to the powers that be to become droids and sycophants. Unfortunately, I am 31 and see the idiocy of most of my peers. Sometimes, I wish that they would all die to save me from having to die myself. I would much prefer that, but whatever. :]


"I know you are busy reading fashion magazines, going to movies, listening to the worst music ever made," Hahahahaahahaha I think I'm getting a t-shirt that says this because it's so freaking true. I remember listening to KXLU and hearing music that was cool because it was not in some commercial, where now it seems that it can only be considered "cool" unless it has 50,000 people all dressed in the same exact style saying how cool and original it is. Exene still awesome!

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